Easy Steps to Start Doing Keyword Research for Your Business

Easy Steps to Start Doing Your Keyword Research for Your Business

As a digital marketer or business owner, the success of any SEO campaign is dependent on how good your keyword selection is and this dependency can only emphasize how critical keyword research is for any online marketing effort. In an SEO agency, keyword research basically lays down the foundation for the entire digital marketing strategy, because there’s so much that goes into optimizing for a keyword.

What is a Keyword?

Before getting into the actual steps, let’s get to the root of it all first—the keyword. By definition, a keyword refers to the term typed in by the user in the search bar. And these terms are what you want your business to be relevant for. A keyword or a keyword phrase can be composed of a core term plus supporting keywords, which turns it into a variation of long-tail keywords.

An example of a keyword phrase would be, “Find an affordable car loan,” where “car loan” is your core term, while the other words that precede it serve as supporting keywords.

Understanding Your Keywords

Knowing how to use the right keywords by understanding why users search with these terms makes it easier to condense a list of possible keywords to target. Understanding your keywords helps you drive traffic to your business’ website, convert users into buyers, and select the best search queries according to the different stages in the buyer’s journey. By managing the right keywords—from awareness to information to desire-building and to conversion—you get to create a seamless online experience for your buyers.

User Intent for Keywords

So, how do you classify keywords according to user intent? There are four ways to segregate keywords according to the reasons users search these terms: navigational, informational, commercial, and transactional.

IntentDefinitionValue of Traffic
NavigationalCompany and brand searches or domain queriesLow
InformationalQuestion-oriented and solution-seeking searchesMedium
CommercialInformational searches with potential business opportunitiesHigh
TransactionalLooking to buyVery High

People using navigational and informational keywords are often seeking out to satisfy their curiosity. There is zero to barely any potential for these two search intentions to turn into business opportunities. As an example, keywords such as “Bali scenery,” “Bali resorts,” or “Bali activities” are informational terms, which mean that users are simply browsing for information. 

But if you add in supporting keywords so that the search becomes, “Bali best resort packages,” they then become commercial keywords due to the potential business implications behind the search. Transactional keywords, on the one hand, would read something like, “Bali vacation deals.” The intention to buy already exists. 

A Look at the Sales Funnel

The sales funnel helps you align user intent with the right keywords, so that your SEO campaign works towards your business goals. Here’s an example of the sales funnel with keywords matching the different stages:

  1. Information – “Hotels in New York”
  2. Consideration – “Hotels in Manhattan, NY”
  3. Desire – “Best hotels in Manhattan, NY”
  4. Conversion – “Online booking for best hotels in Manhattan, NY”

Do you see how the search query becomes more specific and the tail grows longer? So, the longer the tail of a keyword, the deeper it goes into your sales funnel, and the more general the term, the likelier it is to be closer to the top of the funnel.

So, What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research refers to the process of locating and studying the various search terms users type into search engines and utilizing this data for specific purposes, such as marketing and SEO. As mentioned earlier, digital marketing companies that provide SEO services make use of keyword research to determine the appropriate marketing strategies for a specific campaign. It allows marketers and business owners to discover insights on the search queries to target, which can include search volume and ranking difficulty, among others.

Why is Keyword Research Important?

Given the real-world insights that keyword research provides through data, digital marketers and business owners are offered a peek into what their target audience is actually looking for online. This data informs you of all the other activities to include in your strategy, which makes it the groundwork for any meaningful SEO strategy

Producing content in your blog page, for instance, can be made more effective and beneficial to your business goals when it’s supported by the right keywords.

The Steps on How to Do Keyword Research for Your Business

Here’s an easy-to-follow keyword research process that can help you determine a list of search terms to target.

  1. List down the important and relevant topics to your business. If you’re a small business owner, say, for a boutique SEO agency, think of five to ten topic categories that you want your business to be known for. Place yourself in the shoes of your buyer persona—what are the search queries that your target audience types in to find your business? Your topic categories can look like this:
    1. Digital marketing services
    2. SEO for small business
    3. Social media marketing
    4. Email marketing
    5. E-commerce marketing

Check for the search volume of these broad terms to find which topics present the most value to your audience according to your sales funnel.

  1. Identify keywords to go under your list of topics. Come up with possible keywords and don’t think too hard—you’ll trim the list later on. For now, you’ll want to build a list of keyword phrases that you would want to rank for in search. In using the earlier example, here some possible keywords for the first topic list, “Digital marketing services”:
    1. Digital marketing tools
    2. Digital marketing software
    3. How to do digital marketing
    4. What is digital marketing?
    5. Digital marketing companies

You can do this for every topic category until you’ve come up with a sizeable list of terms.

  1. Apply user intent to your keywords and analyze how it impacts the search. Google’s algorithm prioritizes providing value to the user in relation to their search query. This basically means that optimizing a page for the search query “digital marketing” can only be truly effective if it provides value to the user. Since “digital marketing” is an informational keyword, you will want to provide the user with content packed with relevant and helpful information.

To see how Google interprets the intent behind a keyword is to test it out yourself. Go to search and see the results that turn up for any specific keyword phrase.

  1. Study related search terms. If you’re struggling to come up with more possible search queries that your target audience is using, try reviewing the popular searches related to your topic list. Go to Google, type in your keyword, and check the bottom of the SERP. You’ll find suggested topics related to your search query. Consider how these keywords may be more relevant to your business than it seems.
  1. Utilize keyword research tools. There are SEO tools that can help you identify more keyword ideas based on your topic lists. Plug in your keyword phrases in either exact or partial match to find possible alternatives.

Easy enough to accomplish? As you dive deeper into keyword research—understanding the keyword, contextualizing user intent, and identifying where they go into the sales funnel—you’ll realize that it can be much trickier to know which keyword phrases in your topic list are the most effective.

On Choosing Keywords

Now that you have a somewhat clearer picture of the keywords that you want to rank for in search, you’ll have to narrow down and refine your list according to your SEO strategy. Naturally, you’ll want to choose the most relevant search queries and topics to your business, but with a pretty long list, here are the factors to consider in selecting and finalizing your keywords:

  • How relevant is your content? Since Google ranks content according to its relevancy to the search, this is where user intent plays a huge factor. Your website will only rank effectively if it meets a user’s search intent by providing the content that is valuable to them.
  • How authoritative are you? Google also considers how authoritative your website is on a given niche or topic, so you’ll want to show how much of an expert you are through a variety of signals like backlinks and helpful, informational on-page content.
  • How many users are searching for your keyword? Google measures the amount of searches for specific keyword phrases, so you’ll have a baseline on which keywords are the most popular, because what’s the use of optimizing for a keyword if no one is looking for it at all, right?

Get Started: Building Your Online Presence with Keyword Research

Conclusively, trimming down your list of keywords requires a careful and studied approach. Data analysis is key and having the pertinent information can help your keywords perform better. 

For example, check if any of your competitors are ranking any better for similar keywords and discover which search terms they’re missing out on—utilize these as an opportunity for you to get ahead. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to harness the data you can get on your keyword’s search volume and traffic estimates. 

For starters, it’s always good to build a healthy mix of core terms and long-tail keywords based on user intent and your business goals to ensure you have a strong foundation that successfully directs your digital marketing campaign.

Author Bio: Marc Bartolome

Marc is a strategist and enabler of hundreds of successful digital marketing campaigns. Always looking out for the little guys, he specialises in helping SMEs create a bigger impact online – which is why he writes blog posts like this.

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